Monday, June 4, 2018

A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles


On Homosexuality and Gender Inequality in Jamaica

Homosexuality and gender inequality are prominent in A Reason For Living. In the period of the 1960s in which the novel is set in Jamaica, both behaviors were very taboo. Jamaica is today recognized as “a homophobic society,” however it’s not as homophobic as many other countries are, as homosexuals are not beaten and killed as they are elsewhere specially in Muslim influenced nations, except if acts of pedophilia are involved. Because of the deeply religious history of the country, homosexual acts are looked down on as extremely immoral and anti-religious. In the novel there is both male and female homosexuality.

Gender inequality was more widespread in Jamaica than homophobia during the period that the novel is set in. While there were a handful of women in political life, there were virtually no female business leaders. In A Reason For Living, one female character, Christine, who indulges in homosexuality is also denied leadership in a big company ran by her father, not because of her sexual preference, but more so her gender. Her father, Old Edmond, laments that his son, Howard, who is younger than his sister, and his nephew, Robin, have other interests above helping in the management of the family’s real estate and development company.

In the complexity of the story unfolding in the novel, Christine becomes a victim of both her homosexual tendencies as well as being a woman engaging with other women in a sport seen only as sport for males, cricket. Although women played an extraordinary role in nurturing and molding the Jamaican family resulting in one book entitled “The Mother Who Fathered Me,” in the national consciousness especially at the working class and peasant classes of the Jamaican society, women played a distant secondary role to men in leading the country, in politics and business.

It is ironic however to note that female homosexuality in that era, and still so today, is more acceptable and accommodated than male homosexuality; and the upper middle class, upper class, and intellectuals indulging in homosexuality are far less frowned on than practioners at the lower rungs of the society.
The book explores these nuances within its complex characters.


Book Details:

Book Title: A Reason for Living by Julian Jingles

Category: Adult Fiction, 382 pages

Genre: Historical fiction

Publisher: iUniverse

Release date: January 17, 2018

Tour dates: May 21 to June 8, 2018

Content Rating: R

Book Description:

It is the mid-1960s in Kingston, Jamaica, and the country is steeped in social, political, and economic inequities. Howard Baxter, the heir to a real estate empire, has no interest in seeking or managing wealth. Painting and deflowering Jamaican maidens are his passions. As he combs the streets looking for greater meaning in his pathetic life, it soon becomes apparent that Howard's journey will not be easy.

Bernaldo Lloyd, a member of the Baxter clan, is a medical student who is sensitive to the hopelessness of the Jamaican masses. Inspired by his close friend and Howard's cousin, Ras Robin Pone, and their ties with the Rastafari movement that calls for social and economic equity, Bernaldo is determined to overthrow the corrupt government. As Howard, Bernaldo and Robin become influenced by America's Black Power and Civil Rights movements demanding equal rights for African Americans, the women in their lives both love and criticize them. But when revolution breaks out, Howard finally discovers a purpose for his twisted life that leads him in a direction he never anticipated.

In this tale of love, passion, and self-discovery, two Jamaican men become caught up in a 1960s revolution that reveals injustices, oppression, and a purpose for one of them.

Praise for A Reason for Living:

“Riveting, touching on micro and macro relationships of love, sex and politics, and the search of Jamaicans for the essence of their existence, with many compelling scenes and very touching, sensitive dialogues.”

- Dr. Basil Wilson, New York Carib News

"A Reason for Living is a highly complex work that pits sense against sensibility. Emotions surge, transforming men in unfathomable ways. And as love and revolution march in lock-step, Jingles might well have earned a place among the region’s more interesting writers."

- Glenville Ashby, Kaieteur News

“The author, filmmaker, entrepreneur did not wile away five decades as a bystander but may have calculatedly used the hiatus to toil in order to reveal a compelling novel about the creative and volatile ‘60s in Jamaica.”

- Vinette K. Pryce, Caribbean Life

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Julian Jingles has had a professional career spanning 52 years writing for publications such as the Jamaica Gleaner, the New York Amsterdam News, JET magazine, the New York Daily News, and the New York Carib News. He began work on his novel A Reason For Living in 1966, a teenager just graduating from high school in Jamaica. In 1967 he went to work as a journalist at the Gleaner Company, the oldest published newspaper in Jamaica, and the Caribbean. He has written, produced, and co-directed three documentary films, production managed several music videos featuring Kool and the Gang, Steel Pulse, the Main Ingredient, promoted several music concerts, and a stage play, along with investing in several entrepreneurial projects in America, and Jamaica.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ LinkedIn

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